A great way to raising your picnic up to the next level is slipping in a few locally produced Artisan food items – something to make it special and unique and really give your a picnic flavour of your region.
Perfect Picnic Essential 1: Bread and Cheese
If you don’t do anything else you should cover the basics – bread and cheese.
By splashing out on an Artisan loaf and some local cheese you’re off to a great start.
Save yourself the bother of making sandwiches (which are likely to go soggy anyway!) By taking a whole, unsliced handmade loaf of crusty bread – Just don’t forget to take a knife!
If, like us, you’re in Norfolk looking for a good artisan bakers you can’t go far wrong with The Dozen Bakery in Norwich. They are an award-winning independent bakery who use only the finest ingredients to create some truly delicious breads!
You’ll need something to go on that gorgeous bread – I find a nice, soft cheese is often the thing, a Brie or Goats cheese. Hard cheeses can become “sweaty” in a slightly too warm picnic hamper (which isn’t pleasant).
Norton’s Norfolk make a beautiful soft cheese called St Swithin’s Soft which comes in several delicious varieties – including lavender.
I can highly recommend this for any picnic hamper!
Perfect Picnic Essential 2: Meats and pickles
If you’re pushing the boat out and making this a truly Artisan picnic, once you’ve got the basics covered you can start thinking about meats and pickles.
Now, as an award winning poultry farmer and smokehouse owner, we’re entering my area of expertise!
Wherever you are in the country you’ll probably have no problem finding great Pickle and chutney producers.
Some of the most interesting (and reasonably priced) Chutneys I’ve had have been bought from home-made stalls in rural driveways – So keep your eyes open!
The most obvious meat to go for would be a really good ham – either sliced or on the bone – or a whole salami from one of the U.K.’s increasingly well-respected charcuteries (like Norfolk Salami producer Marsh Pig who I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post).
Alternately you could go for a smoked meat, like the smoked Duck and Chicken we produce here at Morton’s!
The other thing you could do, with a bit of forward planning, is roast a whole chicken the day before your picnic and take that with you – we found a great picnic roast chicken recipe ideal for the event!
This can be great fun to pull apart but will, obviously, result in very greasy fingers – so remember to take kitchen roll – but no littering!
Perfect Picnic Essential 3: Fruity Artisan Cordials
You’re going to get awfully thirsty if you don’t take some drinks with you, and what better way to enjoy the English countryside then sit back and enjoy a refreshing, fruity drink.
A few really good, independent soft drink producers have emerged in the UK in the last few years – there are two here in Norfolk that I particularly enjoyed:
Norfolk Cordial had so much faith in their drinks they were willing to go on BBC’s Dragon’s Den – and survived to tell the tale!
They produce a range of sophisticated cordials and drinks with some intriguing flavours on offer – definitely worth investigating as you’re unlikely to find varieties like this anywhere else!